Recently, I went out with a new friend. It was our second time being out on the town, and the second night she’d told me, “I want to get you drunk.”
At first, I wasn’t sure how to interpret that statement. I don’t usually drink. The first time was right after my big breakup, and I was feeling pretty emotionally raw. This time, I just wanted to have fun. The later the night went on, the more drinks we consumed. The flirtatiousness went up a notch. She kept pressing her body against mine to whisper directly into my ear, her breath hitting the spot on the back of my neck that’s almost guaranteed to make me melt.
Still, there was an air of mystery to our bar hopping. Was it a date, a gossip session, an extended flirtation? I couldn’t be sure and didn’t want to guess wrong and mess up our friendship. It was hard to tell, and though I sensed she wanted me to make the first move, I had trouble doing that.
What was different about this girl-girl date than dates I’ve had with guys wasn’t just that we were checking out men as (somewhat of) a pretext to check out each other, but that I let down my guard with her without even meaning to. Because we’re friends, and still getting to know one another, we’d shared intimate secrets, and twice during the night, I found myself crying; once, over a memory from a past relationship, once over an issue I’m really insecure about that came up in conversation. Maybe the alcohol weakened my defenses, or maybe I was just more myself than I am when I’m in full-on “dating” mode. We wound up in my hallway with her comforting me while I cried, then us kissing and grabbing each other until I feared someone seeing us from the street. At least I knew then, finally, that it was a date—one with the potential for sex.
I got it in my head that a brilliant idea (at 4 a.m.) would be to go to the local hotel and get a room, as my apartment is still in the process of being “decluttered.” We held hands on the way there, and, armed with a sense of wild abandon I haven’t felt in a while, I was prepared to fork over almost $200—but they were out of rooms.
She dropped me off at home, and as the room spun while I lay on my couch, I figured that was probably for the best. Whether it’s the start of a budding relationship, friendship or hookup, the sex is probably going to be better when we aren’t wasted.
That date made me think about the ways I let myself melt around girls that I don’t around guys. Maybe I’m more cautious or wary around men. It’s not that I assume the worst, but I’ve gotten hurt in the past even by “nice guys.” The kinds of intimacies I revealed to her were ones it would take a while into a relationship with a guy to divulge.
My experiences dating and sleeping with women have been both more frivolous on one level and earth-shakingly intense; there’s little in between when it comes to my girl crushes. I’ve only had two real girlfriends (and maybe a dozen boyfriends), but one of them was a relationship that, six years later, is still very important to me.
We were inseparable, and our bubbliness, our blonde/brunette contrast, our taking off our bras wearing Page Six Six Six T-shirts all fed into our desire for attention. I know we got away with certain behavior that a man and woman never would have. We’ve since moved on to a tentative friendship, but there are certainly times when I miss her and wonder if maybe I’m meant to settle down with a girl like her after all.
I have a story called “Great Lengths” in the new anthology Girl Crush: Women’s Erotic Fantasies, based on a woman I used to have the most wicked crush on. The sex part of the story I made up, but the inseparable friendship, the way I thought she was so cool and smart and gorgeous and out of my league? That’s all true. I was fixated on “Laura” in part because I wanted to sleep with her, but also because I wanted to be like her. She represented this grown-up exciting artistic life that at the time, mired in a very corporate day job, just starting out as an erotica writer, I couldn’t imagine truly being mine.
To me that is the essence of a girl crush; that mix of sexual and almost professional desire. Even with the most accomplished, talented men I’ve had dalliances with, I don’t literally want to be them, though I have tried to take lessons away about success that I can implement in my life. Getting blissed out talking to a beautiful girl reminds me in some ways of being in junior high and thinking certain high school girls were so perfect; there is an element of unattainable-ness to my crushes that makes them all the more amazing when they do come to fruition.
I don’t know of another way to describe my attractions to women as feeling like I’m a teenage boy. For me, there is a difference in the kind of power and thrill I feel when receiving sexual attention from a man or a woman. I like them both, and like giving them back, but when a girl who’s mostly into guys tells me she wants me, tells me that she’s never been with a girl, I feel so alive, like I’ve won a grand prize in life’s hotness contest. Not because she’s a conquest, but because she’s letting me see a side of her she’s never shared before, and in return, I hope to do the same.
I can only speak for myself in saying that I appreciate the range of queerness women bring to their relationships. It seems that for many women, sexual orientation is more fluid; kissing a girl can be a fun thing to do at a bar or a shockingly sensual, emotional, arousing experience. Or both. I’m looking forward to seeing where my girl crush leads.